249347 Opportunities for Collaboration between Occupational and Community Health: Stories from Two OSHA Inspections

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kathleen Fagan, MD , Peace Caucus, Rockville, MD
Occupational Health and Community Health are important elements of Public Health and, not uncommonly, overlap. Yet, occupational health and community health practitioners infrequently work together. Obstacles to collaboration include bureaucratic protocols, poor communication, and lack of effective collaborative methods. Practitioners in these fields have much to learn from each other and can benefit greatly from collaboration. Two OSHA inspection cases that illustrate the overlap of occupational and community health issues will be presented. The first is a case cluster of Legionnaires' Disease with both occupational and community cases caused by a company's contaminated cooling tower. The second is an unusual poisoning of eight workers due to paranitroaniline exposure. The event led to activation of the county incident command, the temporary closing of two hospital emergency departments, and temporary elevation of the threat level by FEMA. Root causes and occupational safety and health lessons learned from these two cases will be discussed. Assessment of collaborative efforts will explore what worked and what did not. Approaches to achieving common goals and solutions will be explored.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Occupational health and safety
Program planning
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe two OSHA inspection cases, one involving a biologic hazard and the second, a chemical hazard, that demonstrate the intersection of occupational health and community health concerns. 2. Analyze the successes and failures of communication and collaboration between occupational and community health practitioners in these two cases. 3. Discuss approaches to improved collaboration to achieve common public health goals.

Keywords: Collaboration, Occupational Disease

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have practiced occupational medicine for 30 years and have worked as a medical officer for OSHA for the last 2 years. I have consulted on a number of OSHA inspection cases, including one of the two I will present. I have collaborated with community health and public health practitioners throughout my career.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.